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World of Warcraft Blood Death Knight Build and Strategy Guide (Warlords of Draenor 6.0)

Here's a very detailed build and strategy guide for Blood Death Knight on World of Warcraft written by Troxism from WoW forums. This guide is up-to-date up to the Warlords of Draenor expansion.


This guide will be split into two parts: the basic 'what should you do' which will cover all the main points of Blood DK play for the average player, and a second part containing both the 'why should you do this' part, and that will go into further detail on different alternative talents, rotational choices, ect for the more advanced player who wishes to understand things more thoroughly. The first part is for people who want to keep it short and sweet. It won't go into detail on the reasoning behind any of the suggestions, that is covered in the longer guide.

For those who are wondering “who the hell is this guy?”: I play Blood DK in Duality of Zul'jin. My recommendations in this guide come from a combination of a lot of work with Simcraft and my practical experience raid testing and dungeon/CM testing on beta as a Blood DK.

This guide is still in the process of being updated, and is subject to change. It was written mostly off beta experience and theorycrafting, and therefore I may change my mind on certain topics, or further hotfixes/patch changes may render parts of the guide inaccurate until I update it.

The formatting options on this forum are kind of limited, so if you want to see things like hyperlinks to things, and cleaner formatting, I recommend checking out this version of the guide: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/1607763-Blood-DK-Warlords-of-Draenor-Patch-6-0-Guide-(Long-but-has-TLDR-Version)#post29983995. Having said that, the information in here is the same, so if you don't care about 'prettyness' there is no reason to go there.

The Short/Basic/TLDR Guide to WoD Blood DK

Every part of this basic guide will be explained and analyzed in greater depth in the advanced section. So if anything seems overly simplified I would recommend checking out that part of the guide.

The long guide will generally cover everything from this short guide (ie it stands on it's own), so if you prefer more detail I recommend skipping to it else you will be getting a lot of the same information twice.

Major Changes from MoP

-Heart Strike is replaced by Blood Boil and Pestilence has been merged into Blood Boil as well.

-Rune Strike is replaced by Death Coil.

-Scent of Blood stacks are now gained via Blood Boil and Soul Reaper rather then auto-attacks, dodges and parries.

-Death and Decay is no longer worth using (due to NOT giving a Scent of Blood stack, and not doing significantly more damage then Blood Boil). *Blizzard has been messing with this spell lately, so this might change.

-Due to the removal of Scent of Blood RP gains, you have far more downtime in the rotation.

-RP gains from Anti-Magic Shell soaking are massively nerfed, contributing to the above.

-Horn of Winter no longer has a cooldown and does not generate RP, so you should no longer use it rotationally.

-Multistrike and Haste are the way to combat the above issue; Multistrike provides a lot of RP and Haste provides rune regeneration rate.

-All your tanking cooldowns are significantly nerfed.

-Mastery: Blood Shield has been cut by about 3-3.5x but now grants % Attack Power as well.

-Vengeance has been replaced with Resolve, which instead of granting AP, grants % increased self healing. Resolve is far more volatile then Vengeance and spikes right after you get hit, decaying fairly rapidly until the next hit, replacing the old Death Strike 5 second window in this manner.

-Death Strike an Rune Tap have been completely reworked; Death Strike's base healing is determined by Attack Power, then Resolve acts as a further multiplier based on how hard the boss hits. Rune Tap is now an active mitigation tool, providing 40% damage reduction for 3 seconds after usage with a 40 second base recharge (30 seconds with a leveling perk, but you won't have that at 90).

Stat Weights

Strength = Bonus Armour* > Mastery = Multistrike* > Haste > Versatility > Crit

*Bonus Armour is more mitigation, Strength more DPS but both are similar.

*You should prioritize Multistrike for DPS/reducing downtime, and Mastery for survivability; it is really up to you what you decide you want more; if you are struggling with survival get more Mastery. I'll be honest, Multistrike is actually pretty weak for defensive purposes (Roughly 3-4 times weaker then Mastery for raw damage reduction/healing benefit). However it's DPS benefit is about twice that of mastery, and the max HP granted by it helps smooth out damage intake, which has 'hidden' benefits via reducing overhealing which are not really possible to math out directly.


For the Cloak/Ring/Neck enchants, you should pick either Gift of Multistrike or Gift of Mastery enchants depending on what you prefer (as mentioned above). For your weapon, use Rune of the Fallen Crusader.

For Gems, pick the stat you want to stack ; either Greater Mastery Taladite or Greater Multistrike Taladite, and gem only that. Keep in mind gem sockets are now prismatic, and randomly rolled on gear (like Warforged) so they are far less common now. You CANNOT gem Bonus Armour.

For Consumables, use Greater Draenic Strength Flask, and either Calamari Crepes (Multistrike) or Sleeper Surprise (Mastery) food (again, your choice). Use the Draenic Armor Potion to pre/in fight pot as they are 50% stronger then the Draenic Strength Potion.


Level 56: Plague Leech (if you can handle the rotational complexity, otherwise it doesn't matter what talent you pick here because they are all useless to Blood, however PL is a sizable gain if used well)
Level 57: Purgatory(Anti-Magic Zone can be a good alternative if you want more utility, Lichborne can act as an awkward version of Death Pact via Death Coiling yourself, although it's not supposed to work that way anymore, so who knows if it will randomly get 'fixed')
Level 58: Death's Advance (Other talents can be worth it situationally)
Level 60:Blood Tap (or Runic Corruption if you have a lot of trouble using Blood Tap, but I highly recommend learning Blood Tap)
Level 75: Death Pact
Level 90: Completely situational for the fight/dungeon/preference
Level 100: Defile (Breath of Sindragosa if targets will be moved too often to stay in Defile)


Pick 3 of these:

Glyph of Outbreak (Only if using Plague Leech, but you should be, so yeah. Also don't need it on AoE, because you can just PL then Blood Boil and re-spread the disease that way.)
Glyph of Regenerative Magic (For additional usage of AMS, somewhat situational since AMS soaking is a joke now)
Glyph of Blood Boil (Nice to have if picking up adds or AoEing spread targets or just general QoL)
Glyph of Dark Simulacrum (Amazing if used on a fight where you can use Dark Simulacrum)
Glyph of Runic Power (Amazing for fights where there are slows being applied to you, otherwise useless)
Glyph of Absorb Magic (Highly situational but occasionally good on a few fights)
Glyph of Icebound Fortitude (Like above, highly situational but occasionally good on a few fights)


You want to prevent any of your resources from capping as much as you can; you have 3 rune pairs and runic power to worry about, and blood charges if you use Blood Tap.

-Use Death Strike to spend Frost and Unholy Runes, but always try to leave one pair of them ready so that you can do an emergency Death Strike if you dip low.

-Use Death Runes on Blood Boil for AoE damage or Death Strike for mitigation (this is a decision you have to make based on the situation).

-Use Death Coil to spend Runic Power.

-Use Blood Boil or Soul Reaper (if target is below 35%) to spend Blood Runes. Soul Reaper takes priority over Blood Boil below 35%, unless there are 4+ targets to AoE.

-Use Crimson Scourge procs on Defile if you have it, or Blood Boil if Defile is not up/you did not spec it.

-Keep diseases up.

-Use Plague Leech when you have at least two fully depleted runes, and Outbreak is off cooldown in order to quickly reapply the diseases again (if you have Glyphed Outbreak, can pretty much do it any time).

Death Strike Usage

-Avoid overhealing with Death Strike.

-Try to use it right after a boss melee or special attack to utilize the short term burst of Resolve this will give you.

-If you feel you are going to die in the next 1-2 globals (and you don't have another way out of the situation), use Death Strike to try to save yourself regardless of other considerations.

-Use it regardless of other considerations if you would resource cap otherwise.

Rune Tap Usage

-Try to not let both charges sit off cooldown for too long.

-Use right before any burst damage; this ability is basically a reverse Death Strike.

-If there is no specific burst damage in the encounter, you can use it as just a weak cooldown, or as a 'bridge' between two Death Strikes.

-If you plan to use it at specific points in the fight, remember to bank the required Blood Rune in advance.


This section will basically be pretty sparse. If you want to know more about pre-raid gearing, and more details in general, I highly recommend the advanced guide gear section, however the point of the short guide is to keep it simple, so I will just give a simple general Raid BiS list here.

Important: There are definitely alternatives for the trinkets, and that is covered in the Trinket section of the advanced guide, however I don't want to list everything here, and those are the two best 'general' trinkets.

Raid BiS List

Head: Ogreskull Boneplate Greathelm (Kromog)
Neck: Choker of Bestial Force (Beastlord Darmac) or Glutton's Kerchief (Oregorger)
Shoulders: Ogreskull Boneplate Pauldrons (Operator Thogar)
Back: Ravenous Greatcloak (Oregorger)
Chest: Ogreskull Boneplate Breastplate (Flamebender Ka'graz)
Wrists: Fleshmelter Bracers (The Blast Furnace)
Hands: Flamefury Gauntlets (Flamebender Ka'graz)
Waist: Uktar's Belt of Chiming Rings (The Iron Maidens)
Legs: Ogreskull Boneplate Greaves (The Blast Furnace)
Feet: Sabatons of Fractal Earth (Kromog)
Ring: Spellbound Runic Band of Elemental Invincibility (Legendary Quest line)
Ring: Razoredge Blade Ring (Hans'gar and Franzok)
Weapon: Ka'graz's Burning Blade (Flamebender Ka'graz)
Trinket: Blast Furnace Door (The Blast Furnace)
Trinket: Horn of Screaming Spirits (Flamebender Ka'graz)


That about sums up the short guide to Blood DK. If you want to see more information on alternative options, or just reasoning behind a lot of what I say, I recommend reading the Long/Advanced part of the guide in the next few posts.

Beware if you do that, it is 9k+ words long :) 

The (Way way way way) too Long Guide to WoD Blood DK (Write up before 6.0 patch)

This part of the guide is much more detailed and wordy. Here I will explain all the alternatives, advanced options, details about how things work, and go more in depth about how you should be looking to play. Without further ado, let us begin!


Before we more get into stat weights (which are very confusing for Blood ATM), it would be beneficial to understand what all the stats actually do for Blood Dks and what has changed from MoP.

Multistrike (MS)

This is our 'attuned' stat, meaning we receive 5% more of it from all sources. It's baseline function for all classes and specs is to grant you TWO chances equal to the multistrike % to 'hit' again for 30% of the damage or healing of your abilities. This means if you have 50% multistrike, every attack you do will have two 50% chances to deal an additional 30% damage. So you would have a 25% chance to not deal any extra damage, 50% chance to deal 30% extra, and 25% to deal 30% extra twice (60% total).

Multistrikes will not proc anything unless it explicitly states in the proc that it can be triggered by multistrikes.

If something cannot crit, it also cannot multistrike. This means Death Strike/Death Pact healing cannot Multistrike (but the damage of Death Strike can).

People often look at Multistrike and say 'it is just a weak version of Critical Strike'. Well this actually isn't true; it is numerically equal to critical strike if not accounting for special bonuses from it. It takes 66 Multistrike rating to get 1% multistrike at level 100, and 110 Crit rating to get 1% crit chance.

So let us compare 3300 critical strike rating to 3300 multistrike rating. This would give us 30% crit chance, and 50% multistrike chance.

Crit: 30% chance to do 200% damage, 70% chance to do 100% damage. 200%*0.3 + 100%*0.7 = 130% normal damage on average.

Multistrike: Two 50% chances to strike for 30% extra. This means you have a 25% chance every hit to strike for the normal 100% damage, 50% chance to strike for 130% damage, and 25% chance to strike for 160% damage. 100%*0.25 + 130%*0.5 + 160%*0.25 = 130% damage on average.

As you can see, Multistrike is actually exactly equal to Crit by default. Now, obviously it isn't that simple. If you already have some of either stat, then adding more is relatively SLIGHTLY devalued based on how much you already have. Also in the specific case of Blood, you get 5% more MS from gear by default, and 10% base MS from passives.

So with all this math out of the way, what does Multistrike actually do for Blood other then increase our damage?

The Blood Rites passive grants you 15 Runic Power per auto-attack multistrike; meaning you can either get 0, 15 or 30 RP from an autoattack, the odds being based on your MS chance.

What this means is it is a huge source of Runic Power. Blood Death Knights have a lot of downtime in the rotation baseline, and getting more Multistrike helps fill the gaps. More RP means more Death Coils and more Breath of Sindragosa (if talented). Both of these grant Blood Charges for more runes, and Shadow of Death, which is a stacking max HP buff. Basically the way Shadow of Death functions is the more RP you are spending per 30 seconds, the higher the % HP buff goes.

More specifically, Shadow of Death grants 3% max HP per Death Coil for 30 seconds. Now, this does not just stack to infinity; the way it works is similar to Ignite; the remaining amount from the previous buff is added to the new one. What this means is if you Death Coil once, you get a 3% max HP buff for 30 seconds. If you then wait 15 seconds, and Death Coil again, you will have a 4.5% max HP buff for 30 seconds. What happens is the original 3% is divided by the remaining duration (in this case half) and added to the 'fresh' buff. This is constantly done for every 'stack' every time you Death Coil. It also means that you can actually LOSE effect on the buff if you wait a while before using Death Coil. The way to look at the buff is it's size is based on the number of Death Coils you have cast over the last 30 seconds.

What this means is if you spent every single GCD using Death Coil, you would have a 90% max HP bonus (3% times 30 Death Coils divided by 30 seconds). Technically it could be higher then this if you also used Breath of Sindragosa, but obviously this is a completely unrealistic scenario, even if you had the RP generation to pull it off, as you would be unable to do anything but cast Death Coil over and over to maintain the buff. In reality, the buff will likely be between 20-40%, depending on your MS value. It also fluctuates a good bit in combat since there are natural gaps between using Death Coil.

Because multistrike is baseline as good as crit for increasing damage, and has a 5% attunement bonus, AND lets you use more Death Coils, Multistrike is an amazing DPS stat. However it's direct tanking benefits are practically non existant, as it gives only a small amount of runes for DS/RT via Blood Charges (this is very inefficient; it takes 75 RP to bring back only one rune via Blood Tap), and a moderate max HP bonus. Having said that, max HP provides the intangible benefit of damage intake being a little smoother, meaning you can be healed more efficiently by healers/can wait until you take more damage to Death Strike and therefore overheal slightly less. So while mathematically Multistrike is very weak for mitigation, it is somewhat better then that in reality due to this 'hidden' benefit.


While this is not our attuned stat, it is very important for how Blood functions and is one of the most critical stats to the spec. Every 110 Mastery rating gives a 1% Attack Power bonus, and 2% more Blood Shield from Death Strike.

Keep in mind that Death Strike healing is now based on attack power, so Mastery improves both the healing and absorb aspect of the ability, meaning it 'double dips' as the absorb is based on the heal. You may also note that the mastery conversion is more then 3 times lower then in MoP; there the same (relative, obviously the stat squish messes with it) amount of mastery would give 6.25% shield instead of 2%. This is partly because of the whole AP double dipping thing, but also partly to nerf active mitigation across the board.

Basically the differences for this stat from MoP are that it now gives DPS via the attack power bonus (but still not that much compared to other stats), and it is generally weaker, but improves overall healing, not just absorbs (this also means it is now directly rather then indirectly effective against magical damage, since you can heal that back better with more AP from Mastery). It is still generally the best mitigation stat however, and among the worst stats for DPS.


Another new addition in WoD, this stat lives up to it's name by basically doing a little of everything. Every 130 Versatility rating provides 1% extra damage, 1% extra healing and 0.5% reduced damage taken from all sources. Now at a glance this stat looks very powerful since it basically improves everything, but it is very expensive per % compared to other stats.

The % healing bonus does apply to Death Strike, but it does not apply to % heals like Death Pact (not that it really matters in that case). It does not double dip the bonus for Death Siphon; the damage is increased, and then the healing is based off the damage; Versatility does not also multiply the healing afterwards. Something else to note is the damage reduction is magical damage as well; not only physical damage reduction like armour or Blood Shield. It is also flat consistent mitigation, so it is completely reliable.

Having said all this, this is not the best stat for anything; it provides a decent DPS bonus, and a decent mitigation bonus, pretty much falling right in the middle. This is not a bad stat to have on your gear, but generally it will not be your #1 priority either.


This stat has not changed much from before; what has changed is the Blood spec around it. The only change to this stat from MoP is that it is relatively much more 'expensive' to get 1% haste compared to other stats now. In MoP, 425 haste gave you 1% haste, while 600 crit gave you 1% crit respectively. In WoD, 100 haste gives you 1%, while 110 crit gives you 1% crit. As you can see, haste is significantly nerfed by default for all classes/specs compared to MoP.

This might lead you to assume haste is not very good now. This isn't quite true. The Blood spec itself is different from MoP; you are no longer nearly GCD locked by default, and you no longer get so much RP from AMS soaking for 'free'. This raises the value of haste drastically; in patch 5.4 you basically didn't want more then a few % haste because you could not actually make use of it due to being GCD locked. In WoD, while it is not the best stat, it is definitely much more useful with the much higher base downtime.

Something else to consider is that Haste has a multiplicative benefit with Multistrike; MS grants RP on autoattack multistrikes, and Haste speeds up your autoattack, meaning more chances to Multistrike. This doesn't mean you should stack Haste for RP gains (directly getting MS is better for that), but it is a small synergy to note. Also, while MS gives RP, Haste gives runes directly. Generally speaking, runes are better then RP, unless you want to increase your max HP. So Haste's mitigative benefit is significantly greater then Multistrike.

While strictly numerically, Haste is not as strong as Versatility for mitigation, much like Multistrike it has some benefits that are nearly impossible to directly math out. Reducing time between Death Strike usages has the benefit of smoother damage intake; generally smaller Death Strikes more often are better then bigger ones less often, all things being equal, as you overheal less, and do not dip as low in between usages, meaning less panic healing is done by healers. Still, this is a benefit mostly in cases where you are constantly taking damage, and cases where you are holding back Death Strikes a lot, this has much less impact. So while these 'hidden' benefits are enough to make Haste slightly better then Versatility 'in reality', they are not enough to elevate it to a top tier stat.

DPS wise, Haste is a poor stat. Diseases do not scale with haste, neither do Soul Reaper or Defile. Haste is the worst or tied for worst with Mastery DPS stat.

Haste is also somewhat devalued by Plague Leech and AMS soaking (although much less then in MoP), since those are 'flat' benefits not increasing with higher haste.

Critical Strike

Critical Strike is a stat that was traditionally a DPS only stat in MoP; it provided the highest possible damage, but had no mitigation benefit. This has changed in WoD. Riposte is now a passive that gives you Parry rating equal to your Crit rating; basically it is no longer a proc and has been reversed. Note that 1% parry is more expensive then 1% crit, and Parry also has diminishing returns, so you do not get 5% parry from 5% crit. Also something to note is that temporary crit procs (such as Skeer's Talisman) do not give parry for whatever reason (and this is supposedly intended by Blizzard, although I have no idea why).

Honestly this stat is generally the worst stat for Blood in WoD. It provides less DPS then Multistrike, due to not having the 5% attunement and not also generating resources for you. It's defensive value only works on autoattacks from the boss, not working on most boss specials or any magical attacks that cannot be parried. It does not have any synergy with other stats.

Having said that, this is the 2nd best DPS stat out of the 'main' secondary stats (not including Bonus Armour as that is limited to only some items). So for a pure DPS build, you would get MS and Crit. Also, it does reduce damage taken fairly well, assuming most of your damage intake is autoattacks on a given boss (which is true on some bosses). So this is not a stat that is 'useless' by any means.

Bonus Armor

Another new stat on the block in WoD, and frankly the best way to describe this stat is that it is basically Strength that gives Armour instead of Parry. Every point of Bonus Armour gives 1 attack power (multiplied further by Mastery of course), and obviously, one point of armour as well. Since attack power increases Death Strike healing, this makes this an amazing stat for survivability. Also, while 1 AP doesn't sound like much, keep in mind in WoD all AP values are halved and AP ratios doubled, so this is actually a lot more then it seems.

Basically this is the best secondary stat for both DPS and Mitigation. The trick is that this stat is only available on Amulets, Rings, Cloaks, and Trinkets. Generally speaking, you want this stat on all those slots over anything else (trinkets are often an exception however, since they can also have Strength). This is basically Blizzard's way of making 'tank' gear in some slots, since every tank class wants this stat pretty badly.


While this is not a secondary stat, and is primarily based on your ilvl (you can only get 'extra' strength from trinkets), I mention it because of the changes to it. First of all, you only get 1 AP per 1 Str now (but AP ratios are doubled now). Second of all, with Vengeance being gone, most of your attack power now comes from this stat. And finally, like I have said about 3 or 5 or 15 times, Death Strike scales with attack power now. This means Strength has gone from being a throwaway stat in MoP to an amazing stat in WoD, rivaled only by Bonus Armour (which it is roughly equal to in most ways).

Mostly what this means is you should not be ignoring Str procs and passive Str on trinkets in WoD, as they are about as valuable as Bonus Armour on average (and that is your best secondary stat). 

Stat Weights

Now that we have gone over what every stat does, let us summarize this by giving some stat weights.

Note that these stat weights were gathered from a combination of using Simcraft, and my practical experience Mythic raid testing on the beta; there is definitely some opinion put into these stat rankings as pretty much every stat does something different, and things like max HP from MS are hard to evaluate mathematically (and trying to just blindly use various metrics to evaluate tanks is a futile proposition).

I would recommend against trying to use Simcraft's default Blood APL right now by the way, as it is considerably sub-par and will give you very incorrect results (This isn't a jab at the Simcraft devs, as they do a fine job with the tool, they just don't have a dedicated person for doing that APL so it is a bit behind). I will likely be tossing up my heavily modified/improved APL into the codebase soon however in order to improve the tool. #1 Problem with Simcraft isn't that it is a bad tool/wrong, it's people using it wrong, getting wrong results and then either recognizing this and blaming the tool for being 'bad' or not recognizing it and spreading misinformation.

Here is the quick version of the stat weights (snipped from the short guide):

Strength = Bonus Armour* > Mastery = Multistrike* > Haste > Versatility > Crit

*Bonus Armour is more mitigation, Strength more DPS

*Note that you should prioritize Multistrike if you want more DPS and less rotational downtime, and Mastery if you want to focus more on survivability. Multistrike gives roughly double the DPS benefit of Mastery, but about 3-4 times less 'raw' mitigative benefit then Mastery. However, like I mentioned in the Multistrike section above, the extra max HP given by Multistrike does allow you to take more damage before needing to be healed, meaning you reduce overhealing and smooth out damage taken. This is a benefit that is basically impossible to quantify mathematically, and this is why I say Mastery = Multistrike, as in my practical experience, having a good amount of both seemed to play the best out of all the stat combinations I tried.

Here are slightly more broken down stat weights.

For DPS: Str (4.74) >> Bonus Armour (3.74) > Multistrike (3.39) >> Crit (2.48) > Versatility (2.06) > Haste (1.79) = Mastery (1.77)

*The number of arrows is a relative measure of the difference; more arrows means a bigger gap.

*These values are for Heroic ilvl 680 gear, although they do not change massively based on ilvl.

For Mitigation: Bonus Armour > Str > Mastery > Haste = Versatility > Crit = Multistrike*

*'Mitigation' is a broad term covering HPS, Damage taken, and to some extent 'spikyness' of damage taken. Basically a general concept of 'tankyness'. I got these values from a combination of simulation on various metrics, and practical experience on the beta. Honestly the exact values are going to be somewhat subjective based on what metrics you consider the most important for a tank's survival (mostly in the weaker stats like Vers vs Haste vs Crit as those all do different things and are very ROUGHLY similar in power).

*Crit vs MS is very subjective; Crit provides damage reduction from autoattacks only, MS increases the stability of your HP bar and provides a small overall HPS boost, so honestly comparing them fairly is basically impossible.

From these two lists is where I got the combined weights above.


You should be using Rune of the Fallen Crusader. Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle is completely worthless in comparison now due to the fact that Death Strike healing is now based off attack power (and Resolve), and there is no more Vengeance to massively inflate your attack power, so Strength is no longer devalued.

For the Cloak/Ring/Neck enchants, you should pick either Gift of Multistrike or Gift of Mastery enchants depending on what you prefer (Damage and less downtime or Mitigation, the eternal struggle of the Blood DK).

For Gems, pick the stat you want to stack ; either Greater Mastery Taladite or Greater Multistrike Taladite. You cannot gem Strength or Bonus Armour, so you have to pick one of the other stats. An alternative is Stamina gems, but honestly I feel that if you want max HP, Multistrike will provide that plus significant additional benefits, while Stamina literally does nothing else. However Stamina does give more HP then MS, so in some specific cases it may be a valid choice, but I don't recommend it for general play much like in MoP where you basically never gemmed stamina either.

For Consumables, use Greater Draenic Strength Flask, and either Calamari Crepes (Multistrike) or Sleeper Surprise (Mastery) food (again, your choice). Use the Draenic Armor Potion to pre/in fight pot as they are 50% stronger then the Draenic Strength Potion. 


Snipped from the short guide, here are my talent recommendations:

Level 56: Plague Leech (if you can handle the rotational complexity, otherwise it doesn't matter what talent you pick here because they are all useless to Blood, however PL is a sizable gain if used well)
Level 57: Purgatory(Anti-Magic Zone can be a good alternative if you want more utility, Lichborne can act as an awkward version of Death Pact via Death Coiling yourself, although it's not supposed to work that way anymore, so who knows if it will randomly get 'fixed')
Level 58: Death's Advance (Other talents can be worth it situationally)
Level 60:Blood Tap (or Runic Corruption if you have a lot of trouble using Blood Tap, but I highly recommend learning Blood Tap)
Level 75: Death Pact
Level 90: Completely situational for the fight/dungeon/preference
Level 100: Defile (Breath of Sindragosa if targets will be moved too often to stay in Defile)

More details about each talent tier and why I make these recommendations:

Level 56 (Plaguebearer, Plague Leech, Unholy Blight)

Basically, Plaguebearer and Unholy Blight do nothing for Blood unless you take Necrotic Plague. Unholy Blight can have minor use as a second Outbreak, but if you aren't using Necrotic Plague, you should not have problems spreading and maintaining diseases since Blood Boil does all of that for you as long as you disease at least one target manually.

If you take Necrotic Plague as your level 100 talent, Plaguebearer and Unholy Blight can help you stack it up faster, but at current tuning levels, Necrotic Plague is a DPS loss. More importantly, even if you did take Necrotic Plague as your level 100 talent, Plague Leech is still better then both Plaguebearer and Unholy Blight as long as you use Plague Leech correctly.

Plague Leech on the other hand provides you 2 'free' runes every 25 seconds. Now the issue is you don't want to leave your diseases off the target (lose DPS and Crimson Scourge procs, which are basically +20% healing to your next DS if used on BB) for more then a few seconds, so you have to reapply them quickly. Doing this via Icy Touch + Plague Strike is a waste, because you effectively end up spending the runes you just gained for nearly no gain at all.

What this means is you should only use Plague Leech if you have Outbreak avaliable, either because it is off cooldown, or because you glyphed it to have no cooldown (but cost 30 RP). The latter is generally slightly better but a bit harder to use. This is because in WoD, Glyphed Outbreak will still generate 2 Blood Charges just like Death Coil for the same cost. This means you only lose the Death Coil damage (and you get way more damage out of 2 runes then 1 Death Coil), and the small amount of Shadow of Death stack (which got nerfed and you'll only be losing about 1% max HP in practice due to how it works as described previously).

Effectively, you can cast Plague Leech every 25 seconds if you Glyph Outbreak, and every 60 seconds if you don't (because you are waiting on the Outbreak CD). Realistically, Plague Leech won't be used exactly on cooldown; you need a 'gap' in your rotation to spend 2 globals to get the runes, and you obviously need to actually have depleted runes.

Something else to keep in mind: Plague Leech will only refresh fully depleted runes, and if you only have one fully depleted rune when you cast it, it will only give you one. So make sure you have two fully depleted runes before you cast this ability. Also, when AoEing, keep in mind you can basically just Plague Leech and let your next Blood Boil re spread the diseases back, without having to use Outbreak.

If you did end up speccing Necrotic Plague anyways: You want to Plague Leech in the last 1-5 seconds of Necrotic Plague's duration, because you would have been reapplying it soon anyways. Since Necrotic Plague can be reapplied 'manually' with only one rune, Glyphing Outbreak is less important, but still a good idea. Note that using Plague Leech + NP is superior to using Plaguebearer or UB + NP in both DPS and survivability, as long as you don't Plague Leech a fresh NP; wait till it was about to expire anyways. This can be very cumbersome to do, since sometimes you are busy with other things when NP is expiring, and this is a big reason NP can be annoying to use.

Level 57 (Lichborne, Anti-Magic Zone, Purgatory)

Lichborne: This talent is supposed to only give 10% Leech/make you Fear/Charm/Sleep immune, however currently it still maintains the functionality of making you undead and able to Death Coil yourself (this is not intended AFAIK). This means it has decent utility as a self-healing tool as you can activate it and Death Coil yourself at a slight DPS loss. Using DRW at the same time can increase the healing, but because of the nerfs to DRW's AP coefficient, and the fact that the Rune Weapon doesn't benefit from your Resolve, it isn't that effective at doing this.

You can use this macro to automatically Lichborne and Death Coil yourself with the same button, without having to target yourself:

[QUOTE]#showtooltip Lichborne
/cast !Lichborne;
/cast [target=player] Death Coil[/QUOTE]

Anti-Magic Zone: This talent is a small utility (20% magic damage reduction for 3 seconds and requiring everyone to stack can hardly be called 'great'), but can be good on some encounters. It is up to you to decide if you need Purgatory for the encounter, or if AMZ would actually be more beneficial.

Purgatory: This is a great default talent, but is primarily useful only on hard hitting encounters where you can be killed quickly from high HP. It has not changed much from live, although Death Pact is less effective at getting you out of it due to the healing absorb leaving you more vulnerable.

Level 58 (Death's Advance, Asphyxiate, Chilblains)

Death's Advance is the default choice for this tier, being the only reason DK 'mobility' even exists. However on specific encounters/dungeons and Challenge Modes it can be beneficial to take Chilblains to kite, or Asphyxiate as a stun. Again, this is a choice made based on the situation. Something to note is that in MoP Death's Advance was multiplicative with all other speed buffs; in WoD it is additive, meaning it is slightly nerfed from MoP.

Level 60 (Blood Tap, Runic Empowerment, Runic Corruption)

I'm going to be honest, if you can handle using it, Blood Tap is far and away the best choice. For why you should use Blood Tap I HIGHLY recommend reading my article about it:

That article is for MoP; in WoD Rune Tap being an important AM tool is yet another reason why Blood Tap is superior since it can more reliably provide an on-demand Rune Tap. Defile also favors Blood Tap if you choose to cast it outside of Crimson Scourge procs; if you are using Runic Corruption, using an Unholy Rune on Defile will 'desync' your runes, which will be a huge problem for you. So if you use Runic Corruption with Defile, I recommend only casting Defile with Crimson Scourge procs.

Necrotic Plague also favors Blood Tap if you choose to not Glyph Outbreak; since it only takes a single rune to refresh, you will have the same orphan rune issue as with Defile using it with RC. For Breath of Sindragosa there is no special preference either way, although BT can be more reliable for maintaining the breath for longer.

The only reason I don't tell absolutely everyone to use Blood Tap is that a lot of people screw up managing the resources of Death Knights properly without capping; managing Blood Tap in addition to that can be way too much to handle for some people. So if you honestly struggle with using Blood Tap, you have two choices; keep practicing until it is second nature, or you can use Runic Corruption instead as the easier choice. Ultimately using Blood Tap badly is worse then using Runic Corruption properly, and it is much easier to play Runic Corruption properly.

For reference on what I mean by 'playing them correctly', here is my mini-guide to using the rune regeneration talents: [url]http://sentrytotem.com/news/classes/dk/guide-using-level-75-talents[/url]

While it was written for MoP, pretty much everything should still apply to WoD.

Level 75 (Death Pact, Death Siphon, Conversion)

Death Pact: This is the 'staple' choice, however unlike in MoP it creates a healing absorb on you for half the amount healed. Basically it heals you for 50% of your max HP, then gives a 25% max HP healing absorb. Effectively it heals you only 25% of max HP now, however it provides more 'burst' healing. Honestly even with relatively higher HP pools, this talent feels worse then on live, however unless I find a way to make Death Siphon work, this will be the choice taken by 100% of Blood Death Knights.

Death Siphon: On paper, this talent looks strong, but it does not proc Blood Shield via Mastery, so it actually ends up healing less in total then Death Strike in most cases. It's healing scales with Multistrike and Crit unlike Death Strike, and it still slightly scales with the AP bonus from Mastery. It MIGHT be usable in some weird no Mastery high MS/Crit build, but the problem is that even then it probably won't be significantly better, and it absolutely kills your DPS to use this talent as it's damage is pathetic.

Conversion: This talent costs a ridiculous 30 RP per 2% HP for Blood, basically meaning you shouldn't use it in most situations. While you do get rune regeneration talent procs from the RP spent, you do not get Shadow of Death procs, and the healing is very minor for the cost. Obviously you also lose significant DPS from not Death Coiling. In theory this talent might be useful in later tiers if we can stack enough Multistrike, but in the current tier it isn't really worth it. Consider that even with the absorb, Death Pact heals 25% of your max HP, or 12.5 Conversion ticks, or 375 Runic Power worth of Conversion healing. It is not generally going to be worth it to pay 375 Runic Power for a REALLY slow Death Pact heal.

Having said that, the talent is still usable in it's current state; you will definitely lose DPS, and it's a pain to manage turning it on and off all the time (making it basically not usable for most people), but you do end up doing more HPS then without it. But you lose the burst heal of Death Pact.

Level 90 (Gorefiend's Grasp, Remorseless Winter, Desecrated Ground)

There isn't much to say about these talents; they are mostly unchanged from MoP (Desecrated Ground now removes roots as well). You pick the one that is best for your situation, or if none of them are essential for the situation, the one you like the most.

Level 100 (Necrotic Plague. Defile, Breath of Sindragosa)

Necrotic Plague: Honestly this talent is simply undertuned. It replaces Blood Plague and Frost Fever, but even with it's faster then normal 2 second tick rate, it still does less damage then they do until very high stacks. Considering you end up wasting runes reapplying this disease (it cannot be auto-refreshed, instead any affect that would refresh it applies an extra stack instantly), it's 2 RP per attack against you is practically nullified just by that.

Now you can make up a lot of the 'wasted' runes by using Plague Leech when it is about to expire (covered in the Plague Leech section above), but honestly Necrotic Plague is a significant (5-8%) DPS loss in almost every situation, and also a mitigation loss for the same reasons.

While Plaguebearer sounds like it would help this talent a lot, in reality Plague Leech + Glyphed or Non Glyphed Outbreak is the best way to support this talent (the playstyle is gone over in the Plague Leech section above).

Basically NP is just terrible in every situation, even mass AoE due to the terrible conversion rate between RP and mitigation, and the fact that it does so little damage (while Defile does a huge amount of AoE damage). Trying the talent in CModes really showed me how bad it was even in 'ideal' cases. Therefore I don't recommend the talent in any situation at all.

Defile: The reason I recommend Defile in this tier is because it is the easiest to use and overall very strong. It provides a solid DPS and mitigation benefit and if you are used to the MoP rotation, you will already be used to using Death and Decay on Crimson Scourge procs, so using Defile will come naturally.

On the topic of procs; you can either use this talent on CD regardless of if you have a Crimson Scourge proc, or you can wait for the proc before you use it. The difference is that if you only use it only via Crimson Scourge, you can cast more Death Strikes (since Defile consumes DS runes normally). However you will be casting this spell less often due to having to wait for a proc after it comes off cooldown, so you will lose a small amount of DPS. In addition, the 10% damage reduction having a higher uptime can help offset the loss of Death Strikes. The difference either way is small; you gain a little DPS using it on CD, you gain a little mitigation waiting for procs. If you are running Runic Corruption, I highly recommend waiting for Crimson Scourge procs before using Defile to avoid orphan runes.

This talent also has utility as a minor tank cooldown; if you are planning to use it for this reason, make sure you bank the needed rune ahead of time. Using it like this is probably only going to be done on a few encounters, since saving 10% DR is only worth it if there is a huge burst of damage you absolutely need it for.

Also note that if the boss/enemies will not stay in the Defile for it's full duration (for example if you need to move them often for some reason), it is a good idea to use a different talent instead.

Breath of Sindragosa: This is the talent I recommend if Defile is not an option for a fight, however it's not quite as clear cut as that. Defile is a well rounded talent; Breath of Sindragosa is a DPS/Cleave focused talent. It's mitigation value is highly situational; it heals you for 10% of the magic damage done by the boss; what this means is that you want to use it right before the boss does an AoE; if the AoE hits 20 targets(mythic mode), you effectively heal for 200% of the damage the AoE did, putting you 100% ahead after you heal the damage you yourself took. Having said that, this situation is not going to come up too often in practice, and the 2 minute cooldown of the ability heavily limits it's usage as a mitigation tool.

The talent has now been changed to split it's damage between extra targets; it does 100% of the listed damage to the 'primary target' (not sure how that is determined, but I think just by proximity), and then another 100%/number of targets to every additional target. So you deal 100% damage to one target, total 150% to two (100% to the main target, 50% to the other target), 166% to three targets (33% to each of the non main targets) and so on. While the total damage does slowly increase with more targets, it will never reach even 200% total (it will get infinitely close with an infinite number of targets however). This means this talent is now a cleave, and not a true AoE. Therefore, on heavy AoE fights, this talent loses to Defile, however on 1-2 targets it can do more DPS with a Multistrike focused build (MS proc trinkets especially). You lose out on mitigation/stability however, as using BoS leaves you VERY vulnerable as a Blood DK since you end up being forced to spend runes rapid-fire to maintain the channel. Also, stacking Multistrike makes you weak defensively as it has low defensive value. This talent is even more niche then before; it's main purpose now is to be used on fights where enemies will not stay in Defile for it's full duration.

Some general tips on using BoS:

-Obviously you should try to bank 80-90 RP before you start channeling it.
-You obviously shouldn't cast Death Coil during the channel at all, nor Glyphed Outbreak.
-This means you can't really PL during the channel if you have Glyphed Outbreak.
-You should try to channel it so that it overlaps with any magic AoE the boss does.
-You should try to channel it during any trinket procs or actives you have (and preferably Fallen Crusader as well).
-You should try to AMS soak during the channel to extend it (or specifically, start channeling during a period of time you will be able to AMS soak in).
-You should do your best to maintain it as long as possible; this usually means spending your runes as you get them, and using abilities like Empowered Rune Weapon as well; this can lead you to not have a banked Death Strike for emergencies, so if you are in a dangerous situation be wary of this temptation.
-Stacking Multistrike helps maintain the breath longer, at the cost of mitigation. This also means any multistrike procs from trinkets, or even better actives (Vial of Convulsive Shadows anyone?) are MASSIVELY helpful if they happen/are used during the channel.

As you can see, some of these may conflict with each other on many encounters. This is why I say this is a difficult talent to use; you have to think about all these things, just for this one ability. 


Glyph of Outbreak (Only if using Plague Leech, but you should be, so yeah. Also don't need it on AoE, because you can just PL then Blood Boil and re-spread the disease that way.)
Glyph of Regenerative Magic (For additional usage of AMS, somewhat situational since AMS soaking is a joke now)
Glyph of Blood Boil (Nice to have if picking up adds or AoEing spread targets or just general QoL)
Glyph of Dark Simulacrum (Amazing if used on a fight where you can use Dark Simulacrum)
Glyph of Runic Power (Amazing for fights where there are slows being applied to you, otherwise useless)
Glyph of Absorb Magic (Highly situational but occasionally good on a few fights)
Glyph of Icebound Fortitude (Like above, highly situational but occasionally good on a few fights)

Glyph of Vampiric Blood is generally a bad idea; the max HP helps it act 'as a cooldown' by giving you additional buffer room for you and your healers to breathe during high damage situations. Also, the max HP boost on the unglyphed ability helps increase the effect of the T17 4p bonus.


Major differences from live (snipped from the short guide): Heart Strike is gone (Blood Boil takes it's place in all situations where you would have used it before), and Death and Decay is no longer worth casting rotationally (however Defile is) due to doing only slightly more damage then Blood Boil, but not proccing Scent of Blood like Blood Boil does. Rune Strike is also now replaced with Death Coil.

You want to prevent any of your resources from capping as much as you can; you have 3 rune pairs and runic power to worry about, and blood charges if you use Blood Tap.

Here is a rough order of priority:

1: Use Death Strike to spend Frost and Unholy Runes if the second pair is up/is coming up in the next GCD (ie you are overcapping). Do not spend your last pair of F/U runes (at least on content that is even remotely difficult), as you should always hold a Death Strike in reserve for an emergency heal whenever you happen to need it.

2: Use Blood Boil or Soul Reaper (if target is below 35%) if the second Blood Rune is up/is coming up in the next GCD (ie you are overcapping). Soul Reaper takes priority below 35%, unless you have 4+ targets to AoE with Blood Boil. Note that if you primarily care about DPS, Soul Reaper pretty much takes priority over everything else as it's damage per cast on single target is only matched by Defile.

3: Use Death Coil to spend excess Runic Power. Try to keep it below 40-50, as anything above that risks randomly overcapping as you can instantly gain 50 RP from MS Procs + Death Strike.

4: Use Crimson Scourge procs on Defile if you have it, or Blood Boil if Defile is not up/you did not spec it.

5: Spend your other Blood Rune, unless you are planning to save it for Rune Tap.

6: Spend the rest of your RP, unless you are banking for BoS usage.

7: Use Plague Leech, making sure you have at least two fully depleted runes, and Outbreak is off cooldown in order to quickly reapply the diseases again (if you have Glyphed Outbreak, can pretty much do it any time).

What I mean by 'spend the rest of your RP/other Blood rune' is basically because they are lower down on the priority list, you only do this if no other resources are in danger of capping soon; ie you have wait time. As mentioned, you do not spend your remaining F/U pair in this way, as that is banked for an emegency death strike.

You should try to keep diseases up as much as possible, but preventing rune capping is a higher priority; disease over Death Coil but not over DS/BB in a resource capped situation.

On the topic of Death Runes: you have to treat them like the rune type they have 'taken over', in the sense that you never want a pair of runes to be both up. However the ability you spend them on will vary. You use Death Runes on Blood Boil for AoE damage or Death Strike for mitigation (this is a decision you have to make based on the situation).

Note on why DnD isn't worth casting anymore: DnD does about 10% more damage then Blood Boil but consumes the same resources (Crimson Scourge procs and Death Runes), and doesn't give the Scent of Blood stack for 20% more healing to DS. Combined with the fact that it needs enemies to stay in it's AoE for 10 seconds, this means it isn't worth casting in 99% of situations. The main use of DnD now is to use it as a ranged aoe pickup, but it sucks for that, since 1-2 ticks isn't going to hold threat off anything except a stiff breeze. Basically while you should probably still have it on your bar, you won't actually use it very often.

On Army of the Dead usage: This ability should only be used pre-pull, about 8-6 seconds beforehand so your runes have time to be up (don't have to exactly be up, as you will take a few gcds to spend resources, but should be close). It's damage is too low relative to it's resource usage in WoD to really make it worth using during the fight.

Death Strike Usage

In Warlords of Draenor, Death Strike timing is similar to live, but slightly changed. Basically, in MoP, the Blood Shield amount is greater then the raw healing amount from Death Strike. In WoD, this is reversed; the heal is the larger portion of the total effect. This means greater emphasis needs to be placed on avoiding overhealing with Death Strike. Therefore, you want to only Death Strike when it will NOT overheal (obviously, as the rotation above says, you should Death Strike anyways if you are resource capping, since not doing so would just be a waste at that point regardless of overhealing).

The other big part is the way Resolve functions. Resolve is similar to Vengeance, but instead it is a % increase to your healing done to yourself. It is also far more volatile then Vengeance; it 'spikes' up when you get hit, then diminishes quickly, until the next hit. While the diminishing effect is not huge, min-maxing it can easily give you a noticeable bonus to your Death Strike heals. In addition, any large spike damage done by the boss will give you a significant but short lived spike of Resolve; this is an ideal time to Death Strike as usually the burst damage would have knocked your HP low, and your Resolve will be at it's peak.


1: Don't overheal with Death Strike; try to use it at sufficiently low HP. Below 75%-65% is usually a good number, but it varies heavily with how much Resolve, AP and HP you have.

2: Try to use it right after a boss swing or special attack to benefit from the spike of Resolve you will get at that point; this will increase your healing done noticeably over using it haphazardly.

3: Use it anytime you are in danger of dying; either critically low HP or when you know burst damage is coming and your health/cooldowns are not enough. This is always going to be a judgement call, but this is basically what you save the Death Strikes for.

4: Even if the above are not true, use Death Strike anyways if you would otherwise cap on Frost/Unholy runes by having both pairs be off cooldown.

Rune Tap Usage

Rune Tap is the new form of 'active mitigation' added in Warlords of Draenor for Blood Dks. It has been reworked from a 10% max HP heal to a 40% damage reduction for 3 seconds (up to 2 charges, 40 second cooldown, 30 seconds with the leveling perk). At a glance, this means you have to use it at the right time; preferably right before a large spike of damage, to maximize the damage reduced by it.

A good way to look at Rune Tap is like a reverse Death Strike; you typically want to Death Strike right after a spike, but you want to Rune Tap right before a spike instead. This means you may need to learn a somewhat different playstyle if you are used to the reactive play of Death Knights.

Another way to look at it is like another cooldown that is available much more often, but has a very short duration. It can also be used as a 'bridge' between Death Strikes; if you are worried about dipping low before your next Death Strike is up on a high sustained damage encounter, but the cooldown prevents this from being a sustainable long term.

Using this ability correctly is going to be HEAVILY encounter and situation dependant; you have to figure out when the spike damage will be coming and proactively use this ability.

The biggest issue with using this spell is the fact that you need to have a Blood Rune to use it. Always make sure that if you plan to use this at a specific time, that you remember to bank the required rune in advance.

Cooldown Usage

Quite simply, there are two reasons to use tanking cooldowns; to prevent burst damage (ie prevent a fast death), or to close the gap between healing taken and damage taken to prevent a slow death that is looming. Another way to put it is proactive cooldown usage to prevent burst deaths vs reactive cooldown usage when you notice you are starting to dip low to sustained damage, although it doesn't always perfectly line up like this (there are cases you proactively CD to prevent high sustained damage, like solo tanking or challenge mode pulls).

Generally you don't have to worry about burst damage on difficulties below Mythic, unless you are already dipping low before it comes. So in most content, your cooldown usage will be primarily reactive, when you notice your health dropping over time to let healing catch up.

You never want to overuse cooldowns; you want to use just enough to prevent burst damage from killing you/lower damage taken below healing taken. Overusing cooldowns means you don't have them later in the fight, the next time you need them. Also, when choosing between cooldowns, you want to use the shorter cooldown ones first, as they will be back up quicker incase you end up needing them again; you want to use abilities like Bone Shield/Vamp Blood often, while IBF should be saved for when it is most needed.

Honestly for most players, you will typically hit cooldowns due to 'random' events that cause your health to dip as a way to recover; a healer having to move due to a mechanic, a misplay in your rotation ect. In this case you want to just use one at a time, unless you really think more are needed. For example if you are doing 5 mans, and you start dipping low, you might pop Vampiric Blood. Next time it happens, maybe Bone Shield. Maybe if you had magical damage coming in, you would use AMS instead. Learning this type of 'cooldown weaving' is very useful for non bursty content.

External CD Usage (Advanced/Mythic) WIP

On the topic of cooldown weaving, during really high sustained damage, you may want to have a cooldown up the entire time (There were many cases in MoP 25 Heroic where I would stay cooldowned for over a minute straight to avoid the risk of randomly dying). External cooldowns are MASSIVELY helpful here as your own cooldowns will not be enough. This is also where the whole idea of not overusing cooldowns comes in; you don't want to just use everything all at once because then you have nothing left for later.

A good example is something like solo tanking 25H Thok in 5.4; You might use a cd rotation like this:

0-2 Panic Nothing
3 Panic: Ironbark
4 Panic: Sac + Vamp
5 Panic: Sac + Vigilance + Refresh Bone Shield
6 Panic: Sac + Vigilance + DRW
7 Panic: Sac + Pain Suppression
8 Panic: IBF + Ironbark (back up by this point)

Then use another Vig + Vamp Blood on the Jailer until stack drops.

This is probably the most extreme example of cooldown weaving + stacking, but I think it illustrates well what I mean about planning ahead as much as possible and not wasting too much too early.

I'll probably be expanding this section later to talk about addons and such to help with external CD usage (as frankly trying to manage them without addons is a waste of your attention which is needed in other places).

Comments on Specific Cooldown Abilities

Bone Shield expires much more rapidly now (1 second ICD on consuming charges instead of 2), so it is not always advisable to use it on cooldown anymore. You should still use it pre-pull, but during the fight I would consider using it more like Vampiric Blood; situationally, rather then just using it on CD as was best in MoP. Generally better used against sustained damage then spike damage if you have a choice, but only because it tends to last longer.

Vampiric Blood hasn't really changed; it is a good EHP boost before a spike, and can assist you in healing yourself. With the T17 2p, the effective cooldown on this ability becomes fairly low, so if you have it, you should try to use it shortly after it comes off cooldown (although obviously don't just completely waste it trying to 'get rid of it'). Unglyphed, amazing vs spike damage, and in general very good versus sustained damage, especially with the T17 4p.

Dancing Rune Weapon is used similarly to live; mostly as a DPS cooldown. It's duration is much shorter however, and it's damage has been reduced to about 33% of your damage for no real reason. Having said that, even if used as a DPS cooldown, use it as part of your cooldown 'weaving'; if you have DRW up, don't use other CDs with it unless needed. This ability is useless against spike damage, but good at reducing sustained damage intake.

Icebound Fortitude is much shorter in duration now, but is still used the same; for very high periods of damage or in emergency situations where you need more breathing room. Great against both burst and sustained damage. Glyphed IBF is amazing against burst damage, but inefficient vs sustained damage.

Anti-Magic Shell's runic power gain aspect has been massively nerfed in WoD. While it can still give a decent amount of runic power if used at the right time, it will no longer overflow your runic power bar constantly, and weak magical dots will no longer give significant amounts of runic power. Therefore, AMS soaking has become massively dumbed down; you should primarily use AMS to soak heavy magical spike damage (where you will still gain a decent amount of RP) instead of trying to use it on cooldown on every little puddle/dot to gain free RP. 


I will not be covering trinkets in this section, they have their own section after this.

Without hyperlinks, it's kind of annoying to look at gear, so once again I recommend looking at:


for the version of this guide that includes hyperlinks for everything.


Heroic 5 man Gear:

Head: Crown of Desolation (Molten Core Anniversary Event)
Neck: Necklace of Holy Deflection
Shoulders: Goldsteel Shouldercaps
Back: Rigid Scale Cloak
Chest: Rivet-Sealed Breastplate or Incarnadine Breastplate
Wrists: Rivet-Sealed Bracers or Gutcrusher Bracers
Hands: Rivet-Sealed Crushers or Goldsteel Gloves
Waist: Verdant Plate Belt or Goldsteel Belt
Legs: Rivet-Sealed Legplates
Feet: Verdant Plate Treads
Ring: Timeless Solium Band of the Bulwark (Legendary Questline, you can get the 680 ring before raids open)
Ring: Unsullied Signet or Signet of the Glorious Protector
Weapon: Bleakblade of Shahram or Hammer of the Soulbinder or Chakram-Breaker Greatsword

Important Notes: In a lot of the cases where I put 'or', it is because the pieces are very similar, and the choice mostly comes down to if you want DPS (Multistrike) or more mitigation (Mastery). Something else to note is a lot of the gear has Haste, this is just how the gear is itemized, it's really hard to not have a ton of haste.

Also, Heroic gear can be 'warforged' for 6 extra itemlevels and can have a socket in it (this is the only way to get sockets, as a random bonus). So it is worth it to keep farming heroics to try to get 'perfect' gear if you have the time. You can also get tertiary stats like Leech/Avoidance/Speed, however they generally come in such low values as to be basically irrelevant from what I have seen on beta, so I don't recommend seeking out tertiaries, simply treat them as a free bonus if you happen to get them. A warforged + socketed Heroic piece with good itemization will probably beat out a 640 crafted or challenge mode piece with poor itemization in most cases, so I would not ignore it.

I don't put where the items drop, because most of them can drop in multiple dungeons; the loot tables are MASSIVE in 5 man heroics in WoD. Listing all of the places would take forever and bloat the list so much it would be hard to read.

More importantly however, this isn't really the gear you should have going into raids. First of all, you can wear up to 3 crafted items. The basic crafted armours are ilvl 640, while the weapons are 630. I don't recommend using the weapons for that reason. You can upgrade these into 655 and later 665 for the armour, and 640 and later 655 for the weapon, however this requires a LOT of materials, so it can be very expensive, but it is an option if you can afford it. The best usage of crafted gear is to fill slots where you otherwise have low ilvl gear.

Also note that ALL crafted gear except the trinket have RANDOM secondary stats. For example one craft might have Haste + Crit, another may have Mastery + Multistrike. You can craft an item to 'reroll' the stats, but it also costs daily materials, so there is somewhat of a limit on doing this. You should be looking for Mastery, Multistrike and Haste rolls if possible, and try to avoid Critical Strike rolls, but you may end up being stuck with whatever you happen to get.

Challenge Mode Gear

If you do the daily challenge mode quest, you get a bag that may contain a random 640 item. AFAIK, these also have random stats like crafted items. Note that you do NOT have to get a gold/silver/bronze medal, you simply have to complete the daily challenge mode in ANY amount of time. So I highly recommend doing this every day if at all possible. Like with crafted gear, if you end up having a choice, try to get Mastery, Multistrike and Haste items, and avoid Crit items. However you may not have that luxury, so make do with what you happen to get; ilvl is generally more important then perfect itemization.

World Boss Loot

Obviously, these are worth killing for a shot at some gear as well.

Highmaul 'BiS'

While I don't really consider this to be a relevant list, I know someone will ask for it if I don't include it. I hate you, unnamed person, for making me to do all these damn hyperlinks to this stupid gear that will only be 'BiS' for a few weeks until Foundry is open T_T.

Important Note: There is literally only one plate item for some of these slots. So if the itemization looks completely random, it's because there aren't really a lot of alternatives. Mostly crit gear in this instance for some reason, much like the 5 man heroic gear has tons of haste. Also, like before, I will not include trinkets here, as they have their own section later on.

Head: Casque of the Iron Bomber (Kargath Bladefist)
Neck: Choker of Violent Displacement (Imperator Mar'gok)
Shoulders: Uncrushable Shoulderplates (Imperator Mar'gok)
Back: Fireproof Greatcloak (Kargath Bladefist)
Chest: Chestplate of Arcane Volatility (Twin Ogron)
Wrists: Bracers of Mirrored Flame (Ko'ragh)
Hands: Gauntlets of the Heavy Hand (The Butcher)
Waist: Fleshchewer Greatbelt (Brackenspore)
Legs: Legplates of Fractured Crystal (Tectus)
Feet: Entrail Squishers (The Butcher)
Ring: Spellbound Solium Band of Sorcerous Invincibility (Legendary Quest, MIGHT not be available before Foundry, but I think this 690 version will be since there is a 710 version as well.)
Ring: Seal of Unbound Frost (Ko'ragh) or Shockwave Signet (Imperator Mar'gok)
Weapon: Gor'gah, High Blade of the Gorians (Imperator Mar'gok) or Gar'tash, Hammer of the Breakers (Ko'ragh)

Raid BiS List

This one is for real this time . It includes all gear available in the tier, however since Foundry gear is 10 ilvls higher then Highmaul gear, the only Highmaul gear you will likely end up using is maybe a trinket. And since this list doesn't include trinkets (again, they have their own section), this is pretty much all Foundry gear. Note that Foundry is not opening until sometime in January, so it will be a while before you can access this gear.

Head: Ogreskull Boneplate Greathelm (Kromog)
Neck: Choker of Bestial Force (Beastlord Darmac) or Glutton's Kerchief (Oregorger)
Shoulders: Ogreskull Boneplate Pauldrons (Operator Thogar)
Back: Ravenous Greatcloak (Oregorger)
Chest: Ogreskull Boneplate Breastplate (Flamebender Ka'graz)
Wrists: Fleshmelter Bracers (The Blast Furnace)
Hands: Flamefury Gauntlets (Flamebender Ka'graz)
Waist: Uktar's Belt of Chiming Rings (The Iron Maidens)
Legs: Ogreskull Boneplate Greaves (The Blast Furnace)
Feet: Sabatons of Fractal Earth (Kromog)
Ring: Spellbound Runic Band of Elemental Invincibility (Legendary Quest line)
Ring: Razoredge Blade Ring (Hans'gar and Franzok)
Weapon: Ka'graz's Burning Blade (Flamebender Ka'graz)


Pre-Raid Trinkets

Draenic Philosopher's Stone (Alchemy Craft) and Mote of Corruption (Auchindoun) are overall the best pre-raid trinkets.

Knight's Badge (Inscription Crafted Trinket) has been buffed recently, and is now better then the heroic 5 man trinkets, so if you have a spare crafted slot and the money, it's worth picking up.

If you are not an alchemist, most of the other 5 man trinkets are roughly equal, so you can pretty much choose what you like/what you happen to get, but some decent picks are: Toria's Unseeing Eye (Bloodmaul Slag Mines, pretty good all around) Xeri'tac's Unhatched Egg Sac (The Everbloom, Great EHP trinket if you happen to need it against burst damage), Fires of the Sun (Skyreach, good trinket for Damage),

Highmaul Trinkets

Before Blackrock Foundry is open, you should be looking to pick up Evergaze Arcane Eidolon (Imperator Mar'gok) and Pol's Blinded Eye (Twin Ogron) for general play.

If you happen to need EHP for a specific fight, Pillar of the Earth (Tectus) is your best bet, although I do not recommend it for general usage as it pretty much JUST gives you EHP; it doesn't help you sustain yourself or deal damage very much.

The other trinkets are not that great, due to most of the others having Crit on them, especially as a proc (and like with the Knight's Badge, crit procs do not give parry).

Raid BiS Trinkets

For general usage, I recommend Blast Furnace Door (The Blast Furnace) and Horn of Screaming Spirits (Flamebender Ka'graz).

Solid runners up are Evergaze Arcane Eidolon, and especially Tablet of Turnbuckle Teamwork (Hans'gar and Franzok), as it's Armour active can act as a mini-cooldown quite well. Things like Haste/Mastery actives don't really work the same way as they mostly just make your active mitigation stronger, which isn't really what you are looking for in a cooldown.

Your best EHP option even with Foundry open remains Pillar of the Earth; the Battering Talisman (Blackhand) suffers a lot from the fact that haste procs aren't generally that great as they tend to overcap you on resources if they happen at the wrong time, and it doesn't contribute to EHP, which is the whole point of even bothering with a stamina trinket to begin with (for general usage, stamina trinkets aren't really that great as stamina doesn't do anything BUT give EHP, which is only situationally useful).

The best trinkets for doing damage are the Vial of Convulsive Shadows (The Iron Maidens) and Forgemaster's Insignia (Blackhand), however honestly they are only a very small gain over Blast Furnace Door and Horn of Screaming Spirits, unless you are using Breath of Sindragosa. If you are using BoS, then the Vial of Convulsive Shadows is especially powerful, as you can use it every time you use BoS for great effect.

Fight Guides for Tier 17

This section will be added to later on.


Well, I am pretty sure nobody will actually read this far down, but if you did, I congratulate you! Hopefully you now have a far more detailed understanding of the changes in WoD for Blood Death Knights, and how to optimally play the spec going forward.

Having said that, I will be updating this guide with any new findings/information as it comes up. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to ask me. This guide is an ongoing project, so I do welcome input (as long as it is backed by some reasoning). 

Challenge Mode Advice/Guides(WIP)

This section will be somewhat rudimentary for now, and I will probably rewrite it completely down the line, but it is easier to improve on something rather then make it from scratch, so I am going to just put something down for now, even if it's not perfect.

This section is focused on getting a Gold rating in CMs.

General Advice for CMs

If you are going for Gold, there will be times where you need to pull 2-3 or even more packs at once. Your goal should be doing as much AoE as possible without dying, as Blood DK AoE is insanely strong. However, you cannot just mindlessly spam Blood Boil, as you will die doing that; it really depends on how good your healer is. On most bosses, survival is very easy, so make sure you are doing as much DPS as possible there too; while Blood DKs will not generally be #1 single target in CMs, you can still contribute a lot of damage even without abusive Dark Simulacrums.

Advice for not dying:

-Chain AoE stuns (your own, and your groups): Remorseless Winter, Leg Sweep, Binding Shot, ect.

-Chain Interrupts (or AoE interrupts like Arcane Torrent) for packs with dangerous spellcasts.

-Kill things quickly (that means you and your group all doing high aoe). Seriously, the faster you kill stuff, the easier big pulls become, as you don't run out of stuns/cooldowns before the pack is dead. This means try to Blood Boil as much as you can when you have strong CDs up/the mobs are stunned, because dead mobs do 0 damage. Having said that, don't overdo it. Learning when to BB spam and when to use DS instead is critical to surviving huge CM pulls.

-Chain CDs, but also don't waste them (don't CD when the mobs are stunned for example). Also don't wait to use them; using a CD when you are at 25% HP is stupid, use it at 100% hp just before you take all that damage. As a rule of thumb in CMs, if the mobs aren't stunned, you should have at least 1 CD up (personal, or external from your healer). This is kind of why Resto Druids/Holy Paladins make great CM healers; Sac/Bark have a very short CD and can be used basically every single pull (and should be).

-Just to make my previous point more clear: On any dangerous/multipack pull, you CANNOT SURVIVE without CDs or stuns (and yeah obviously it depends on the specific pack/ect, but generally this is true). You cannot just facetank 3 packs of mobs in CM, you will die no matter how hard your healer spams you. So if your group cannot kill at least some of the mobs before all your stuns/CDs run out, you should probably pull less. In a low AoE DPS group what you will see is that you do tons of AoE yourself at the start of the pull (during your CDs/Stuns, where you are free to BB spam), then as the pull drags on, you are forced to just DS as much as possible to not die, because you have no stuns/CDs left, and the mobs are destroying you. At that point the mobs die very slowly, and the pull drags on even more; it's like a death spiral; the less your AoE DPS is, the less AoE you are forced to do, because you have to DS instead, making your AoE DPS even worse as a result, and so on.

Dark Simulacrum

In a few of the CM instances, you can steal some insanely powerful spells that can trivialize certain pulls or bosses. In others, you can just steal general single target nukes, that while aren't horribly OP, can do upwards of 100-200k damage for the cost of only 20 RP, which is still very much worth it. I recommend Glyphing Dark Simulacrum in any instance where it is useful (which is pretty much all of them). Get used to using this spell A LOT.

I will mention notable Dark Sims in specific instances.


Always take Plague Leech, Blood Tap, Death Pact and Defile.

Death's Advance vs Asphyxiate is a personal choice, although I prefer DA. Depends on the instance.

Remorseless Winter vs Gorefiend's Grasp also depends on the instance. Both are very good.

You can either pick Purgatory or Lichborne, but I generally prefer Purgatory (although UBRS is a great instance for Lichborne, to break the Ogre fears).


This one is a very simple instance, with a VERY lenient timer. There are no invis pots (as you need to kill every mob for kill count).

You probably want to take Gorefiend's Grasp for this, although Remorseless Winter is very strong too.

In the first room with the 3 packs, you can pull 2, or even 3 of them if you do it right to save tons of time; however if you do it wrong, it will take even longer then just pulling them one at a time (and you can definitely get gold just pulling one at a time, so don't push it too much). Each pack has a big mob with a special ability: One has Mind Control, another has the Void Shell (AoE shield on all the other mobs), and the last one has a Void Mending (Heal on other mobs), and can also Life Swap (healing itself to full).

Most of these cannot be interrupted, so you have to stun the casts, and focus the large mobs down ASAP, or the pull will quickly get out of control.

You can Dark Simulacrum the Shadow Word Pain cast by one of the mobs in these packs (I think it is soulpriest or something similar), which does a decent amount of damage.

The first boss is a total joke. AMS the AoE so you dont have to lose DPS hiding behind the shield.

On the hallway to the second boss, you should pull 2 packs at a time (there are 5, pull the last pack alone because it is pretty nasty). You can Dark Simulacrum Shadow Word: Pain from the Soulpriests, and Arcane Bolt from the Magus, and you should do so on CD. The Arbiter casts a Hammer of Justice on you, that should be interrupted so you don't get stunned. Generally these packs have a lot of nasty aoe (ground effects, floating arcane orbs that explode on contact) so be very careful. AoE stuns are massively helpful.

The second boss is very easy, however a small trick is to kick her Mind Spike, and then cast Dark Sim. She will then cast Shadow Word: Pain after the lockout ends (instead of another Mind Spike), and that does more damage then the Mind Spike, so this is a good way to reliably get SW:P every time.

Afterwards, take the demon pulls 1 at a time (they can be rough if you aren't prepared). On the huge pack of Imps, you really want to have something like Arcane Torrent or an AoE stun to stop all their casts.

When you get to the boss room, if you have Gorefiends Grasp, you want to run into the direct middle, then Gorefiends to yourself to group up all 3 packs of Imps/Felguards. The danger here is getting killed by Fel Stomp (it's a frontal cone done by the Felguards, so watch the casts), and the Imps sniping people with Fel Blasts. Make sure your group has a stun/interrupt rotation on the Imps. However, if you can do this pull properly in this manner, you pretty much 100% will get Gold if you don't massively screw anything else up.

The boss itself is pretty easy, just control the adds in the intermission phase.

On the way to Teron'gor, you can Dark Simulacrum pretty much all the casts done by the mobs. Stun the Wraithguard when he whirlwinds (because it hurts a lot). You don't need to kill the pets; just kill the main mob, then move on. Immolate is a particularly good Dark Sim on the last mob.

On Teron'gor, there are tons of things you can Dark Sim (Corruption, Shadowbolt, Immolate ect), but the best one is Chaos Bolt. The person targeted by it should pop CDs so you can Dark Sim the Chaos Bolt, which does over 400k damage in CMode if you get it.